Going Back to Work: Coping With Separation Anxiety
There comes a point in most new moms’ lives when work beckons. This could happen a few months after your new baby comes along or a little later down the line. Either way, it’s never easy to leave your little one in someone else’s care, no matter how old they are. Here are a few tips to help you transition back into work-mode, leaving the “mom guilt” behind.
Remember why you’re going back to work.
For most of us, we need to go back to work to pay bills. We need to keep our jobs and contribute to household expenses. Or you might miss the satisfaction of accomplishing your job or the social element of being around other adults. Focus on your reason to help you get through any guilty feelings you might have about leaving your child in daycare or with a nanny. Know that your decision to return to work is the best thing for you, your baby, and your whole family.
Find the best care situation for your family.
This might be daycare, a family member, a nanny or babysitter. Explore your options thoroughly and choose the one you feel most comfortable with and that you can afford. There are pros and cons to each scenario, but, at the end of the day, your baby will be fine as long as you find quality care.
Get used to your new routine.
If your workplace is flexible, speak with your manager about adjusting your hours so you and your partner spend as much time as possible with your baby. Perhaps you can alternate going in early and coming home early with your partner, so your baby always has one of you in the morning and one of you for dinner and bed in the evening.
Get updates during the day.
If you can find a caregiver who will send you photos and texts during the day, it’s amazing how much better you’ll feel about leaving your child. The picture of your baby smiling in the park will do wonders to relieve any feelings of worry you have about how your child is coping in someone else’s care.
It might seem counterintuitive, but it’s usually harder for parents to be away from their baby than the other way around. Young babies in particular adapt quickly to change, and are usually very happy with a caregiver while you’re at work – it’s you who will be missing them and stressing out about their nap times and feeding schedule!
At the end of the day, no matter how much you prepare and plan, it’s still hard to leave your baby to return to work. But try and focus on enjoying the time you have together. And make it count more by doing something special.
Christine Knight is an Australian expat and mother of one enthusiastic toddler. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, she is co-founder of brunchwithmybaby.com, a site dedicated to helping parents navigate the NYC and Sydney food scenes with their offspring.
Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.